Tips for Getting Rid of Weeds in Your Garden

Tips for Getting Rid of Weeds in Your Garden

May 31st 2024

Weeds are the uninvited plants in every gardener's yard, turning what should be a well-manicured, healthy garden into a fight for survival. By competing with your plants and vegetables for water, nutrients, and light, weeds stunt the growth of your herbs, resulting in low-quality produce.

Some weeds are also parasitic, which means they invade the host plant's vascular bundles for nutrients and reduce the plant's yields in return. Besides, these unwanted plants attract pests and diseases, spreading them to other flowers in the area and affecting the growth of desired herbs.

So, following your weeding schedule improves the aesthetics of your garden and contributes to the well-being of your desired plants. Read on for seven tried-and-tested tips for getting rid of weeds in your green space and growing a weed-free, blooming garden.

1. Hand-Pulling

Hand-pulling is one of the best strategies for getting rid of weeds as it allows you to extract the plant right from its roots, reducing the chances of regeneration. Unlike most herbicides, which kill any plant they come in contact with, including the beneficial ones, hand-pulling lets you pick and eliminate only the undesired plants.

The best time for hand weeding is after a rain spell or watering session. The soil will still be moist, making pulling the entire root system out easier, which is especially important in dandelion plants with taproots. If you encounter strong resistance or tough soil, use a stainless-steel weeder to get a good grip on the root, and pull slowly to extract the entire plant.

2. Mulching

Like all garden plants and vegetables, weeds require sunlight to grow. So, if you block their sunlight access, they will stop germinating and eventually die out. Mulching will block the sunlight that the weeds need to grow. You should apply 2-3 inches of a thick layer of organic material to the soil's surface, which prevents sunlight from reaching the plant, thereby suppressing the growth of weeds.

If you're looking for organic mulch options, opt for shredded leaves, wood chips, or straw to coat the soil between your plants. These materials decompose over time and add vital nutrients to the soil, which positively impacts the growth of your plants. For those searching for more cost-effective picks, inorganic mulch, including rocks or landscape fabric, is also great at hampering weed growth. However, these don't add nutrients to the soil.

3. Landscape Fabric

Landscape or weed barrier fabric is a porous material made from woven or non-woven synthetic fibers. It is placed over the soil and under the mulch layer. This fabric blocks sunlight from reaching the weeds and hence prevents their seed germination. Plus, since landscape fabric is porous, it still allows air and water to pass through, promoting the growth and well-being of desirable plants in your garden.

Here's how you can install a landscape fabric:

  • Remove any existing weeds, debris, and stones from the garden.
  • Level the soil properly to avoid any gaps under the fabric.
  • Roll out the landscape fabric over the prepared soil region.
  • Overlap the sheets by 6-12 inches to prevent weeds from sneaking.
  • Use fabric pegs or garden staples to secure the fabric to the soil.

If you're installing landscape fabric in an existing planting bed, it's best to cut X-shaped slits in the fabric and place them around each plant. This minimizes the exposed soil and reduces the likelihood of weeds invading the soil surrounding your herbs. Once done, conceal the fabric with a layer of mulch.

4. Spray Vinegar

If weeds are starting to sprout in your garden or are in their early growth stages, vinegar is a natural weed controller. With a 4-6% acetic acid concentration, the liquid works as a natural herbicide by drawing out moisture from the plants and killing them. When sprayed directly on weeds, vinegar disrupts the water balance in the plant's cell membranes, drying out its leaves, stems, and other parts.

However, remember that vinegar is a contact herbicide that will kill any plant sprayed on. So, before you spray, cover up the desirable plants with plastic sheets or install a spray shield on your bottle. This way, the vinegar solution won't drift on the plants you need.

On the downside, this method only works for smaller weeds that are less than 1.5-2 weeks old. Vinegar may alter the pH of your soil and make it more acidic, impacting the soil health and growth of other plants. Hence, it's best to use this method to get rid of weeds in gravel driveways or block paving areas in your garden.

5. Corn Gluten Meal

Corn gluten meal is a promising option for those who prefer natural strategies for preventing weeds in their garden. It works as a pre-emergent herbicide, preventing weed seeds from growing roots and hampering their growth before they sprout. To control weed growth in your garden, you should apply around 20 pounds of corn gluten meal (CGM) per 1,000 square feet of soil.

Once applied, lightly water the area to stimulate the compound's herbicidal properties. But when is the best time for a CGM application in your garden? Corn gluten meal is best applied in the early spring. You can then plan a second round around late summer or early autumn.

6. Boiling Water

When boiling water is poured over the weeds, it immediately causes a thermal shock to the plant's cells. This intense heat denatures the proteins and enzymes within the weed, almost "cooking" the plant tissues. However, this method only shows promise for young, tender weeds that have yet to develop root systems.

Here's how you can use boiling water as a weed killer:

  • Fill boiling water in a heat-proof container or watering can.
  • Carefully pour the boiling water on undesired plants in your garden.
  • Wear protective clothing, gloves, and shoes to avoid harming yourself.

While boiling water helps control weeds, this method may sometimes damage the desirable plants in your field, too. Therefore, using this contact technique for weeds growing in pavement areas or gravel is best.

7. Chemical Herbicides

When all else fails, chemical herbicides are available to eliminate weeds in your garden. These compounds alter the psychological functioning of weeds, making them often quicker and more consistent than organic weeding or manual options. Their effectiveness, even at lower doses, is a testament to their power.

For example, some herbicides interrupt the plant's photosynthesis, while others inhibit protein synthesis. Since chemical herbicides contain artificial additives, they are more effective at lower doses than organic alternatives.

Here are the two main types of chemical herbicides:

  • Pre-emergent Herbicides: Apply before germinating weeds; these herbicides create a chemical barrier in the soil, preventing weed seeds from growing into mature plants. They are great for controlling annual weeds that grow back every year.
  • Post-emergent Herbicides: These are used after the weeds have germinated and emerged. They help target visible weeds, making them ideal for controlling perennials and mature weed infestations.


With the right weeding tools and techniques, gardeners can eliminate weeds, promoting healthier plants and well-manicured yards. However, remember that the battle against weeds doesn't just end with installing landscape fabric or regular mulching. The overall health of your garden, including how you water your plants, also impacts its weed condition.

Since weeds thrive in wet and moist conditions, overwatering creates ideal conditions for their seeds to flourish, promoting their growth and expansion. To avoid this, many gardeners are switching to a more efficient irrigation method that minimizes waste and reduces weed problems like drip irrigation. Want to learn more? Contact us at DripWorks today and watch your garden turn into a happy and healthy green space.